"the conscience of a libertarian" is the name of the book. i think writers institute is something that is very important within the culture. we're a culture of words of voices, words are key to our imagination, our capacity to envision things. we ashes are not completely tied to print on the page census of -- [inaudible] but i think that there is no other art form so readily assessable other than perhaps film, when we work with too. that it is something -- there is something in literature that just captures the human spirit. >> more from new york state
capital as booktv, american history tv, and c-span local content vehicles look behind the scene of history and literary of life of albany, new york. next weekend on c-span2. and american history tv on c-span 3. >> next edwidge danticat "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" talked to booktv about the earthquake in haiti. st >> now joins us here on the booktv set is edwidge danticat. who isjoinin ang author and heo recentk book is "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" in january 2010, where were you?januy >> on january 2010, i was here in miami. i was in a supermarket with my daughters when someone called me and said there had been an here earthquake i in haiti, of cours,
so muchn so many lives werehait. changed them. i lost two family members in the earthquake, and many friends,li and the country lost something like 100,000 people.frie >> when did you get down haiti after the earthquake. when was your first visit down.o >> i i had a very little baby at the time. get back until a few weeks later to see some family and to see some friends and see how they were doing. >> you got haiti three weeksm after the earthquake. >> it was s a difficult trip. what was it like when you gote there? >> it was difficult to see all that destruction, to see the suffering that people were goinw through. see l but knowing like it was fordis people who were actually living there at that time. i don't understand at that moment there was somethingw lik a million and a half peoplet living in tents. now it's down to almost a half a million. which is still a tragic especially as the hurricane
season it was hard.w there was so much loss. people are also very strong. i think people who had come so close death and tragedy who lost so much were renewed and helpino their neighbors or, you know, they were doing the best they can to survive just as people are doing to this day. >> before we get in to "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" why do you that'si been nearly three years? why are 500,000 people living ir tents still.ut nea what can peoplerl do assist? >> that's the, you know, that's the question that everyone is asking since it's been almost three years. there's been people have been have relocated themselves. and have been forcibly relocated and i don't know exactly whyfoiy that many people are living in tents. we have, you know, there havetht been elections and we have a ne
government and so and a lot of aid that has been promised has not been going out. people have individual effortsro have some ways carried the day, you know, people have pickedw, n themselves up with the best in the best ways they can. it is a question that we have to keep asking and it's something that we have not allow people to forget that for example, hurricane sandy went through haiti and people in the northeast now have a sense what it wase like.ple, imagine something like thaticane going through your neighborhood, your city when you're living in a tent. there's something like 74,000th acre or more of land that hashe been the harvest, you know. more problems ahead that have grown as a result of the earth spooking, if you will, with the hurricane. you have more food insecurity. a number of cholera cases have
increased with hurricane sandy. we're dealing and people tend to forget we are -- canceling canceling with urgent and difficult situation in haiti. >> where did "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" come from? >> it is anin wy difcu anthologs edited by a group of women here >> miami of women writers called women writers of haitianf decedent.o wr one of theer intellectual wrote. book "so spoke the uncle" he advocated for haitians to take control of their stories, to tell their stories "barack obama: the stories" of their lives at literature and those women, the groups of women got together and edited this that cover the three sections in. the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know, and the haiti of the future, and different women talk about theiri experiences. both in haiti. it's an tholings in english,.
french, and creole. it's cross generational. we talk about the people that were there and survived it.abouh talk about the friends and neighbor, they mourn, they celebrate, but there's a lot of opportunity for people 0 don't know much about haiti to get to haiti through a variety ofkaie women writers.va >> is creole very difficult from french? >> creole, it's a language of ic it's own.ol and it's sort of, i think it as a place where all these different groups that came to a haiti were there. the people who came from africa as slaves, the french, the spanish, english. all of the people came through haiti and so creole is apele beautiful language. c it's full of problem verbs and so we but it's -- [inaudible] even within haiti. there's literature produced in
creole poems and stories.. and it's also an opportunity celebrate language to celebrate creole. if you live here, if you grew uy here as a haitian-american or ae ae. haitian person, you interac with theam languages. so we wanted to present the wa anthologies and csh it was important to have the voices together. >> now, do you speak all three? is >> i do, yes. yes. >> your story is in the book what is your story about? >> my story is called quality is the old days."u it? is something you grew up in haitian household. your parents were talked about [inaudible] in the old days. and it's about a family that was let down. in the '80s, when "the dictatorship" ended families were broken down in the middle. there were people thought one they were going back to haiti and others thought i like it here and i'm staying. sometimes it was a husband and wife. the story the family split and a daughter tries to reunite with
the father. so the earthquake story is there are sort of stories, poems, alls kinds of stories in this book. >> joining us here on booktvs in in miami is edwidge danticat. one of the authors of "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" he's a national book credittic sickle award winner. "brother i'm dying." you an oprah feature. >> yeah. i had the honor of being on oprah's book club. get meet her. for my first book. i got t >>he and "brother i'm dying wasa theh subject." >> e were together here on booktv, you have been so kind all the time. it was my memoir, and i was able to talk about. it's set here in south florida, where my uncle died ine my immigration custody and it
happened the same year that my daughter miriam was born, and my father was also dying. i never intended to write a memoir. these event came together and the book came out of that. >> edwidge danticat is our guest. we're talking with her and ray in north las vegas. if you have a question, please requested and ask it. >> >> caller: i was wondering for you're familiar with --ge dn [inaudible]ti the conspiracy theory about thev earthquake. i guess the government has --oud [inaudible] l the earthquake allegedly was --k [inaudible] it was cuba or some otherr country like that and it hit haiti. i was wondering for you were familiar with the information? have heard that theory, ray, about the, you know, the earthquake mighthat have been mn caused, if you will. mive heard it theory. i don't know i don't dismis. i don't dismiss anythingd.
outright. we've been hearing more aboutw,i fracking, it's called. people are, you know, drilling and it causes seismic activity. i don't dismiss anything outright. i have heard that theory, it way -- [inaudible]eory. right after the earthquake happened. and sometimes we just hear something and we think it sounds crazy and thirty years later,end there's a file that is opened.ht i don't dismiss it outright atmt all. >> edwidge danticat is a rumor or they are they are is widely spread in haiti? >> it's not -- it's actually probably more discussed here.. i think the first time we heard about it was i think -- had the mentioned it or something. but, you know, when somethingti? like this happens, we most talk about sort of the theory that ist more that wel talk more about. i think perhaps that's because something we can do about. it's how the thing we're doing to the environment are making
these things more unbearable. for example, construction, you know, soon after the earthquake in haiti thereu was an earthqua in chile that killed on slightly same level or killed less than 100 people.at and ours ended up killing so many people. we are a city of badly constructed buildings and all of the things. people had been forced to leave the country side to come to the city to work. you had the den population.oce we often discuss these things and how the environment, howse erosion, how the land, how the fact that we have to burn ourn i trees forn charcoal causes us have the massive mudslides and flooding when a hurricane goest through. so these things, too, i thinka more of the things question do something about as a community. we that -- the other theory are also -- [inaudible] talked about.t >> in reading through "so spoke
the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" i was struck by the fact that so manyb writers yearn in a sense to return to haiti. >> i think so many of us come as children, and it's different when you don't choose the>> g migration. we werestk so m in that -- liker parents. we felt too, like, they left during "the dictatorship." they felt like they had no choice but to leave. they have the due alty. like th you yearn for your country.yearn and my kids, i have a lot of family there. i get back quite a lot. there's a yeshing to sort of know the actual thing between the places. the thing that our parents, this place our parents describe it as a paradise and fear. because bad things happen there. you yearn to know the truth thed actuality of it for yourself. there is that yearning, thatyose match with thelf question ofat whether you would be able to go back really go back and stay.
but a lot of people have gone back and try do what they can.ll especially to cancel with the l problems. the problems ofeove environment, education and i feel new generation since the earthquake that is more committed to doing that to helping out making sure haiti has a future as a, youat know, lays out clearly in the future that it should have a future. that deserves. >> who is sweet mickey? >> sweet mickey is the nickname of our president whot president of haiti. >> how is he doing? right now,u know, tomorrow, -- tomorrow is an important anniversary in haiti. the anniversary of the battle which was a very crucial battle and haitian independence.ba and, you know, there have been some demonstrations of again this potential demonstrations
throughout haiti because of theo problems or urge gent. there's urgent problems and people are seeking solutions from him. >> and unfortunately we're outo of time with edwidge danticat.. "so spoke the earth: the haiti i knew, the haiti i know, the haiti i want to know" is the most recent an thotion to which she contributed. "brother i'm dying" is the awari winning book.e edwidge danticat thank you for joins us here in miami. >> thank you very having me. tell us what you think about the programming this weekend. you can tweet us@booktv. comment on the big facebook wall or send us ab e-mail. joining us now on booktv is author and professor wayne karlin who's most recent book is "wandering souls: journeys with the dead and the living in vietnam." professor, swhofs homer?
>> he was a friend of mine who presently retired living in north carolina. he was a office platoon leader and company commander in the sam war. and he had contacted me a number of years ago because i had some contacts in vietnam vietnamese i had been working with. he had taken documents and a book from the body of an north vietnamese soldier he killed during the war, and wanted to see if he could find a family and return the documents to them. >> why? >> he had gone through decades much ptsd. he had a rough war. he had seen many of the own men killed, went through a lot of the patterns that people tend to go through with post-traumatic
stress. adrenaline junkie, wrecked cars, he drank alcohol, had a headquartered time forming roits. -- relationships. he got married kind of life, his wife who was an army brat had seen that he was going through the flashbacks and et. cetera, and he remembered that had sent things to his mother. she had put them in the at -- attic. he blocked the become out of his mind for thirty years. she had taken the dairy he had sent and put in the attic. he went looking for the letters at the suggestion of his wife and found the book again. brought it all back to him. and that the point he thought you know what can i do? here's documents that this family might never have known to
the man i killed. if i can find him and bring him back it will be something to bring them to peace maybe and certainly help them. >> why did he take the documents in the book. what kind of bock or manuscript it was. >> he had taken a patrol up along the ridge line. he had gone further down the trail to check it out. the has been he was coming up the trail on the other side and he was start told see him. homer had the riffle down like this. he had rifle on the shoulder and homer yelled at him give up, surrender. he started to take the rifle down and homer stitched him. three rounds in the chest. he went over to the body, took
out -- went through the pockets, and found this book and other documents.÷= the book was full of medical drawings. it was full of medical drawings and notes. it turned out that he was a medic, he was a north vietnamese army medic. for homer he been in combat and hot at people. he knew he killed them. he never come face to face like this. what you do, of course, you try to not see the humidity of the people you have to kill or are trying to kill you. looking in the book, the drawings were drawn so meticulously. the book was preserved so me dick lousily in the middle of the jungle. the notes were neat, it gave a human toit person that he killed that he resisted.
he took the documents back what you're supposed to do is give them to the intelligence office. they assess them and burn them. something in him said don't burn them. give them back to my. he got them back and sent them to the mother and tried to put it out of his mind over thirty years. >> you say he forget or he blocked them. >> he blocked it. >> was he surprised when he found them? >> he was surprised. he was very -- had brought him back to the moment. he brought him back not in just in memory but sense usually. what he smelled emotionally. >> what are your contacts in vietnam you refer to? >> i was in the machine corp. in the vietnam war. i became writer after wards, i was in a program a number of years ago early '90 at the
university of massachusetts where american authors or veterans of the war met vietnamese authors on the other side of the war. they came over from vietnam, they basically lived together for the summer. these are people who would have killed each other. and their life paths had followed ours. they had become writers after wards. i made some deep friendships that summer. and out of that we decided to create -- work from vietnam. the short fiction that the vietnamese were doing about the aftermath of the war. >> what was that experience like for you. >> it was very emotional roller
coaster. it was very good because i was with the people i was friendly with. i experienced a lot of -- when you go back you see the country at peace which is wonderful. there were moment it is became emotionally trying, but there were moments of a kind of healthy grief that i could -- [inaudible] and seeing the word get translating we did a series of the books -- i'm a writer, i mean, so that's the way i get in to somebody's head. that's the way i do my own books this was a intimate relationship. the commonality of being writers and what they wrote about. i had been doing it for about i had gone back about ten times.
>> why the name "wandering souls: journeys with the dead and the living in vietnam"? it's a vietnamese concept that if some -- the body or some object from the person who was killed if that person dies violently in some way that's unnatural. that's not returned to the home village, if that can't be either, you know, the body buried or some part put on the altar. that soul is forever wandering. it in vietnam they have 300,000 missing like that. they are considering wandering souls. so it was that aspect of it, dom was a wondering soul who had to be brought back to his home and village. the wandering souls were so many of the living veterans of the war who have like homer had not
come home even though they were physically home. >> wayne karlin, did homer, did you get him in touch with come's family? >> yes, so i with journalists i knew in vietnam, we scanned the documents and sent them to them. they put it in the newspaper. several of the big newspapers, actually. and what happened, dom came from a village, which is i don't know about 60 kilometers from north vietnam. his sister had wrapped fish in a newspaper and she opened it up and saw there was not the picture we department have a picture much him. but the picture of the documents, his name and so on. she went running out of her house saying, dom has come home. dom has come home. so the family got in touch
immediately the journalists who got in touch with us immediately. they said there was a number of brothers and sisters. parents were dead. a number of brothers and sisters a number of who had been in the war also. they said we had no bitterness toward homer. we understand war. we understand soldiers. we are grateful that these things were kept and we invite him to come and -- to the trip. >> yes, attended two trips with homer. >> now we're going to show three pictures while you tell us briefly the story. two stages actually the first trip homer did not go back. he said he could not do it. he couldn't face it. i was going anyway on a digit project. he said would you take them to the family.
i thought it would be a small private ceremony. not understanding that in the village there had been almost 200 like dom who haven't come back. we followed a family out there and i started walking to the village with the documents in my hand, who was like hundreds of people. and wailing like it was a funeral. it was overwhelming. and it was first time in vietnam since the war also. and a few days affiliate we got there. we wept out to the village and it was very obviously very emotional for all of us especially for homer and for them. and he came back the documents
had been put on a family altar and the ceremony, as light incense and then you pay respects. they said his soul is back. but they said it was is something you can do for us. we had tried to find his body, and they knew that the body picked up after the ambush and put it an unmarked grave with 36 other guys in the cemetery. so they had gone there and tried to find it. there's a belief in medium in vietnam. it didn't work out. they said if you go with us, we have this medium, if you go with us we'll be able to locate the body and bring him back. okay. homer was ready to believe this than i was. homer is from south carolina. and he grew up in, you know, going to a black baptist church. okay. that's what you got to do.
that's what you got do. we traveled with the family back to the killing grounds. back to the mountains and so on. we had a funeral. there were hundreds of people when i brought the notebooks back. now there were thousand. and the funeral ceremony and they had homer became one of the casket barriers. it was one of the picture of the book. i have the image of him, the other casket bearer have
vietnamese army folks. wearing what dom would have worn. it's not a costume. it's the uniform. and he's carrying the weight, you know, of -- the guy he killed. excuse me. and we had a procession, about a kilometer out to the graveyard, and we buried him. i sense him doing that is, you know, with trauma you've bury the bad stuff and in order to flail that, you have to dig it up. and commemorate it. put it back in the earth. we had literally done, i mean, it was like during the war. >> wayne karlin, teaches language, literature of the college of southern maryland.
he's a novelist, and this is a non-fiction book "wandering souls: journeys with the dead and the living in vietnam." professor, thank you for joining us. thank you. immigrated out west to illinois to georgia lee that. where the mine industry was hay day. he arrived after about a month's journey by ship, by stagecoach, by train, and a arrived in the steam boat in the muddy mining town. boarded himself in a log cabin. established a law practice in a log cabin and slowly worked the way up and became a successful lawyer in georgia lee that and got involved politically ran for congress. served for eighth terms and